Revolutionary Democrats

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Revolutionary Democrats


in Russia, representatives of the revolutionary movement and ideologists of peasant democracy.

Revolutionary-democratic ideology evolved during the 1840’s and became a determining factor in the social movement of the 1860’s and the 1870’s. In terms of their social position most of the revolutionary democrats were raznochintsy (intellectuals of no definite class), although some belonged to the nobility. V. G. Belinskii was one of the first revolutionary democrats. During the 1850’s and 1860’s the revolutionary democrats, led by N. G. Chernyshevskii, N. A. Dobroliubov, A. I. Herzen, and N. P. Ogarev, disseminated their ideas in Sovremennik (The Contemporary) and Kolokol (The Bell). They combined the idea of peasant revolution with Utopian socialism. Regarding the peasantry as the principal revolutionary force in the country, they assumed that Russia would bypass capitalism and would arrive at socialism by means of peasant communes after the abolition of serfdom through a peasant revolution.

The revolutionary democrats founded several secret revolutionary organizations, among them Land and Liberty of the 1860’s, Land and Liberty of the 1870’s, and People’s Will. V. I. Lenin called Herzen, Belinskii, Chernyshevskii, and the brilliant group of revolutionaries of the 1870’s the predecessors of the Russian Social Democrats (Poln. sobr. Soch., 5th ed., vol. 6, p. 25). The ideas of the revolutionary democrats stimulated the development of the social sciences, literature, and art among the peoples of Russia.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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